tv The Last Word MSNBC December 17, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm PST
that does it for us tonight. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." thanks for being with us. the senate has figured out how to go home for christmas this year. just pass a budget and go. >> christmas is one week from wednesday. we have a lot to do. >> the two-year murray/ryan budget deal. >> voting to end debate. >> 67-33. >> people around here are in too big of a hurry. >> the budget deal under consideration has lost support. >> this bipartisan bill takes the first steps.
>> they've got to be able to do other things. >> when we come back next year, i'm ready to go to work. >> people around here are in too big of a hurry. >> we have a lot to do. finish it we must. >> the farm bill, unemployment benefits, raising the debt ceiling, increasing the minimum wage and immigration reform. >> is there any hope for more action in 2014? >> christmas is one week from wednesday. >> congress will close out the year with more of a whimper than a roar. >> this deal is a compromise. >> even when we're functional we're dysfunctional. >> today, a dozen republican senators joined every democratic senator in voting to end debate on a budget compromise that will keep the government opened through september 15th. this clears the way for a final vote on the bill itself which
only needs a simple majority to pass. today's vote was 67-33. the 33 republicans who voted no include mitch mcconnell and ted cruz. john mccain was one of the 12 republicans who voted yes and he said this after that vote. >> i understand that there are many of my colleagues on this side of the aisle that are very unhappy with this deal and intend to vote against it. my only response to that is, i respect their vote but i'd like to know what we do in order to avoid another shutdown of the government. the american people steadfastly reject a shutdown of the government. so, i have concerns about the budget deal. everybody, i think, does because of the nature of the way business is done but to somehow vote against it without an alternative to keep the budget
-- to keep the government from shutting down then i think lacks intellectual integrity. >> the budget agreement will put nearly $32 million into and patty murray offered her assessment of this compromise. >> this bill isn't exactly what i would have written on my own. i'm pretty sure it's not what chairman ryan would have written on his own. i was very disappointed we were not able to close a single tax loophole. i hoped we could extend hope for workers fighting to get back on the job and i was very disappointed that republicans refused to let that be part of the deal. i know it was difficult for many republicans to accept any increases in the bca caps at all. and i know many republicans had
hoped this would be an opportunity to make the kind of medicare and social security benefit cuts. they have advocated for in the past but i fought hard to keep them out. >> joining me now, krystal ball and jared bernstein. krystal, this is one of those love john mccain days. just because -- i mean, the guy drives you crazy and then every once in a while there's one of these moments. he could have just voted and went his merry way but he couldn't help but rubbing ted cruz's -- if we don't do this, what do we do? just tell me what we do to avoid a government shutdown and he said the american public steadfastly rejects a shutdown. >> john mccain was the most vocal senator when ted cruz was pulling his government shutdown shenanigans. he's the one who called him a
wacko bird as well. the interesting thing here, too, is that john mccain has been directly honest about what this deal is really about. for both sides, what they wanted to come to the table around was finding a way to avoid at all costs another government shutdown. democrats don't want it because government shutdowns are over and republicans like paul ryan and john boehner and those who voted against it don't want it because it is destruction for their party. now, on the other hand, they haven't ruled out the possibility of going to the wire over raising the debt ceiling but we'll have to i guess worry about that down the road. john mccain calls it like it is. this is about avoiding government shutdown. ultimately it's a relatively small deal. democrats are upset that there's no unemployment insurance in it. republicans are upset because it raises fees which are really taxes but ultimately we all get to avoid a government shutdown and i think that's good for the country.
>> and jared bernstein, john mccain sees adjustments in the sequester level of spending that he wanted to see. >> it's important to tack on to this if you're trying to understand where john mccain is coming from because of the way sequestration was constructed. defense was going to take a $20 billion reduction in its spending cap in 2014. that's something that john mccain and others voted no on the bill really didn't like. but i agree with you, he took a principled stand. but i also want to say -- and i think i'm echoing krystal here, my view is basically what these guys and gals are doing is partially diffusing a fiscal time bomb that they themselves set. i'll give them credit for compromise and reducing some of the fiscal drag on the 2014 and 2015 economy.
that's useful. but this, again, not just a small deal but bringing a tiny bit of rationality to it that they themselves introduced. >> i have no doubt that john mccain was in one of these tea party primary fights he would have voted against it. the people voting for it were the people who do not have to run for re-election this time. >> yeah, which is fine. at least the votes are there and that's something. mitch mcconnell and others who have tea party challengers are responding to that by moving as far as they can to the right. that's driven a lot of the politics of this year, frankly. it drove the previous government shutdown. and with john mccain, i think you're right. when he did face a challenge he
moved very far to the right on things like immigration that he had long stood for and he's taking a courageous stand, a principled stand. it may look a little different but i'm still glad that he's there to support some sanity at this moment. >> and mcconnell would have voted for this if he wasn't running for re-election. they did something very smart. they didn't want to leave it at just 60 because each one of the republicans who voted for it could have been blamed as being the deciding voter who made this happen. >> right. >> so mcconnell made sure that there was enough of it well over 60 so no individual could be blamed for this and mcconnell made sure it passed. most of the people who voted against it very much wanted to see it passed. >> don't forget this got a bunch of republican votes in the house. >> yeah. >> 169 republicans voted for this in the house and that's been a heavier lift for anything that wreaks of compromise. so i do think that they found a patch of common ground.
an interesting question, one you posed in the introduction, is does this patch of common ground mean that more of this kind of compromise can take place, whether it's unemployment insurance to immigration reform and on that i guess i don't want to be a skunk in a garden party here but i'm not that optimistic. again, this was a small patch of common ground. just because you ran around the block doesn't mean you can run the marathon. >> right. >> and i think you have to -- you could already see members going back to their trenches when you hear paul ryan saying, we're going to extract something over the debt ceiling. that sounds a lot like the language we heard well before the spirit of compromise was upon the land. >> rush limbaugh has an explanation for this whole thing. >> oh, perfect. >> let's listen to rush. >> they are shell shocked. they are scared to death to say anything critical of obama the democrats.
and they will do anything to avoid shutdown, including giving obama that he wants, what we just saw. they have financed obamacare all because they are afraid of another government shutdown. >> rush doesn't seem to know that they increased the military defense in this thing. >> he also has no idea of the budget levels that we're talking about this is quite a lot closer to what the republicans have been wanting with paul ryan's budget than what the president wants. they are getting the wins here because they are the less reasonable party so when they show up at the table they extract a lot of things. i want to go back to what jared was saying about whether we can be optimistic about this or not and whether we'll see compromise in the future like a grand bargain or immigration reform. i also am quite doubtful. i do actually think we could see
ultimately an extension of unemployment insurance like we've seen in the past and an increase in the minimum wage only because they will respond to the fact that those will be brought actually bad issues for the republicans to run against in the midterm election. so there's a lot of movement and momentum growing around those two pieces so we could see those two pieces come together. >> look, if you start fact checking rush limbaugh, you'll never have time for anything else but let me just say is he wrong in an important way on the sequester point. first of all, they didn't kill the sequester. they relieved less than half of the sequester cuts in this year and considerably -- in 2014 and considerably less than that in 2015. the sequester lasts until 2021. >> jared bernstein and krystal ball, thank you both. >> thanks. coming up, edward snowden writes a fan level to brazil
after agreed with him. another honor for pope francis. he's been named person of the year again. this time by a gay magazine. here to accept for the pope, father james martin. [ male announcer ] this duracell truck has some very special power. ♪ [ toys chattering ] it's filled with new duracell quantum batteries. [ toy meows ] [ dog whines ] [ toy meows ] these red batteries are so powerful... that this year they'll power all the hasbro toys donated to toys for tots. want to help power some smiles? duracell. trusted everywhere. life with crohn's disease ois a daily game of "what if's". what if my abdominal pain and cramps come back?
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if you're wondering what message president obama would be sending to russia about the country's new anti-gay laws, here it is. president obama won't be attending the opening ceremonies of the 2014 winter olympics in russia. he's sending billie jean king instead, the white house announced today that the tennis legend will be part of a delegation led by janet napolitano as will gold medal winning figure skater brian boitano. it is the first time in at least
...are the hands that do good things for the whole community: the environment, seniors, kids, and animals. that's why we created the share the love event. by the end of this year, the total donated by subaru could reach 35 million dollars. you get a great deal on a new subaru. we'll donate 250 dollars to a choice of charities that benefit your community. it feels good to be a helping hand. after a federal court judge ruled that the nsa's mass collection of phone data is likely unconstitutional, edward snowden published an open letter to the people of brazil offering his help to the brazilian senate's investigation of the nsa's, quote, suspected crimes against the brazilian citizens. edward snowden explained that he is currently unable to help and would be an awful lot easier for
him to help if he had permanent asylum in brazil. joining me now, steve clemons, washington editor at large and msnbc contributor and john schindler, former nsa analyst and counter intelligence officer. he's a professor of national security affairs at the naval war college. steve clemons, the judge's opinion yesterday, which i think shocked everyone because it basically involved a district court judge overturning a 1979 decision on which all other decisions were based about what the expectation of privacy is for phone records as opposed to the contents of phone calls. and he couldn't have reached this decision without doing this and i don't think anyone saw that coming. >> well, i think this judge, remember, was appointed by george w. bush so that's one interesting moment in this. this is a conservative that brought the case and, second, the judge is saying that times have changed and people have a
different relationship with their smartphone today than they may have had in the past. the rules have changed and he's saying not that this is unconstitutional but it's probably unconstitutional and he's giving the government six months to come back with an appeal. but it's a shocker because it really turns this game around and begins to look at this question, which even president obama has said, we have to have a debate about the nation's security and the people's privacy and the judge bought that. it's a real interesting game changer. >> john schindler, do you see the judge's ruling as validating edward snowden's concerns? >> only partly. i think this was brought about by larry who is a birther and thinks that our president is a secret muslim. let's get that out there. and today senator feinstein -- >> larry klayman is the lawyer and plaintiff in this case and he's a well known gad fly is one of the most positive adjectives you can come up with.
everything you just said about him is true. he's an outright nut on an awful lot of subjects. >> he's a nut. i think he has a legitimate point but he's a nut. the senator feinstein said today this needs to go to the supreme court. i hope it gets there quickly because i think the american public has a right to hear this adjudicated before the highest court in the land on the fourth amendment. i'm not a lawyer, much less a national securities lawyer. i want to see this go to the supreme court as soon as possible. >> i thought, steve, the strongest element was in the judge's decision when he said, look, pay attention to this 1979 decision. it was for one suspect and the examination of two days of phone records and that's all and from that case other judges in the 21st century have been using it to justify this mass date unspecified harvest.
>> i think this judge is saying, regardless of what case came to them, that he's seeing a problem in society of an unhealthy balance of secrecy, no accountability, judges who have been part of the f.i.s.a. court and i respect dianne feinstein in this process but i also respect ron wyden and mark udall who have been raising compassionate issues. it's not that the judge is dealing with klayman. you've got to get this balance right. >> in edward snowden's letter to brazil, john schindler, he actually says to brazil about these nsa programs, "these programs were never about terrorism. they are about economic spying, social control and diplomatic manipulation. they are about power."
to say that these programs were never about terrorism is about one of the wildest things snowden has said. >> yeah, it is. and it tells me a lot that the brazilians immediately said, no, thank, we're not interested. look, what edward snowden has done is glom together a lot of different intelligence programs, glenn greenwald has done the same, to be fair, some of them are about counterterrorism and and i think we need to separate this out. it's not helpful for the debate. there are utterly legitimate issues about domestic surveillance here. pushing it together with issues of foreign intelligence is not helpful and does not illuminate the debate.
nsa is a foreign intelligence agency. some of its collection on metadata, whatever, has implications for american citizens but 90% of what nsa does is purely directed at the outside world. that's a different debate. maybe one we should have? i don't know. every country in the word does foreign intelligence, every single one. >> steve, edward snowden, whenever he speaks, he says something grandiose and usually something provably false. this thing about these programs were never about terrorism is provably false and ridiculous. he also says in here that he briefs that this kind of data collection represents the greatest human rights challenge of our time. now, you have to live in a computer to believe that. you have to never have met people who live in a country with no right to vote, who live
under pure dictatorships. you have to never have met the women in this world that have no right to vote or to an education and most of people in this world that do not own cell phones and never in their lifetimes will not be able to avoid a cell phone. you have to do all of that to think this is the greatest human rights challenge of our time. >> that said, edward snowden was a very passionate man who encountered things that disturbed him at his core. he spurred both a domestic debate and international debate that no one has and he has put a big spotlight on what the social contract is between the united states and its allies and the united states and its citizens. and that deserves a bit of -- a calm. because you haven't done that. i haven't done that. >> i agree. >> that is a remarkable step that he's taken and i would say from the moment when you and i first discussed these revelations, much more of what he has said has turned out to be true and was criticized at the time. we all thought he was grandiose at that time, too.
>> he always hits these crazy rhetorical points like the programs were not about terrorism. but the important stuff he says was true. >> look, passion is nice, passion is good. adolph hitler was passionate. we just buried nelson mandela. is what edward snowden doing about justice or personal agenda? >> thank you both for joining me tonight. >> thank you, lawrence. coming up, the man who maybe is going to run on hillary clinton's left in 2016 and in the rewrite we'll have more about judge leon's decision. [ fishing rod casting line, marching band playing ]
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now, will you run for president in 2016? >> well, i would just say there are around 100 counties in iowa and on my bucket list is to try to make it to all of the counties in iowa one day. >> ryan schweitzer said will it be the hillary that leads the progressives? or is it the hillary that says i'm going to win the democrat tech nomination and so i can shift hard right on day one. david axelrod said this about
brian schweitzer today on "morning joe." >> he's anti-gun control very strongly on the nra side of that issue. he has strong detractors because of the nature of his support for drilling and other aspects of the oil industry which is part of the economy in that part of the country. he does not have the perfect record to run an insurgent campaign from the left. >> joining me now, adam green, co-founder of the progressive change committee and karen finney. karen, how much room is on hillary clinton's left for a democratic run? >> i think there is a fair amount but i think this idea
that she's going to go hard right is a little ridiculous. i don't think anybody would see hillary as a hard right. she might be a center-left person but a hard right i think is unfair. >> adam green, you know, if she runs unopposed, i imagine you would expect certainly a drift to what we might call the center. >> it's possible. >> unopposed in the democratic primaries. >> i think brian schweitzer was saying she will have to pick a side. the corporate wing, including people like bill clinton's chief of staff, elizabeth warren wing has tom haskins from the state of iowa and mark begich from alaska. let's expand social security benefits, not cut them. same is true of wall street.
so, you know, my basic thought is, if hillary clinton firmly says that she supports elizabeth warren's positions on the populism issues, there's very little room to her left. there's little room for a competitive primary change but if she takes the wrong position on those issues, some insurgent could occupy that political space. >> karen, there is the notion that you would be doing hillary clinton a favor by running against her. let's listen to what else david axelrod said about what shapes hillary as a candidate. >> in 2007, she wasn't a very good candidate. she was the front-runner. she was kind of a battleship. i think she got bad advice. in 2008 i think she was a great candidate after obama rocked her in the first caucuses and it became a race. she got very close to the ground, spoke to the economic concerns of every day americans. did she learn something from that last experience?
and this jab from schweitzer, i don't think he creates a real threat to her i think creates an opportunity to reflect on that lesson. >> karen, hillary isn't the only candidate who gets better in competition. >> well, that's exactly right. both candidates got much better in competition. look, the fact that hillary clinton lost the argument of being an agent of change, it was an abomination. she got bad advice in the first part of her campaign. we all accept that and i think axelrod is correct she got better as a candidate but i think it's a little unfair for schweitzer to assume that it's a foregone conclusion. that's how they positioned her at the beginning of 2007 but i don't think that's the attitude she would take if she decides, i should say, to run in 2016 and i think schweitzer -- let's be honest, if you're a guy that's
going to iowa in a few days and most people don't know who you are, that's a good strategy to attack hillary but i don't think it's necessarily a policy argument. >> elizabeth warren has said no, hasn't she? >> there's a number of people saying no. a number of candidates could run and no one expected howard dean in the past and no one expected barack obama in the past. >> i expected barack obama. i thought this guy is on his way. >> well, you are exceptional. >> listen, i never once said i thought hillary was going to win. as soon as i saw that money and the polling indicated he had plenty of room to grow. adam green and karen finney, thank you both for joining me tonight. >> thanks. coming up in the rewrite, james madison versus the nsa. ♪ i wanna spread a little love this year ♪
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simple as a desk to students in africa. kids in need of desk know no political boundaries. i'm sure if i learned about a program to provide desks to kids in africa that have never seen desks, i would want to donate. casey tweeted, our class just bought a student in malawi a desk for school. you can, too. it is so great to see how kids would sit at desks all day themselves react to the discovery that kids in african schools don't have desks and that they need desks. kids always want to contribute. jesmon wrote, "just wrote out a check to u.s. fund for unicef." what is even better, local tradesmen make these desks so the local economy is lifted as well.
"very inspiring story, $177 a year pays for one girl's education. i'm donating to the k.i.n.d. fund." girls in africa face many more challenges than boys do in terms of trying to stay in school. "i recently became an m.d. at the age of 58. in the '60s, southern girls were discouraged. hold onto your dreams." "i tear up every time i see images of the children sitting on the floor in classrooms. the k.i.n.d. strategy is smart providing jobs and opportunity. wish there were more like it. glad i was able to endow two desks in honor of family members this year." "lawrence, i called and donated. god bless this wonderful cause." you can go to our website, lastworddesks.msnbc.com.
and joy reid tweeted, just bought our k.i.n.d. desks, one on behalf of each reid. joy reid has made it an annual event in her family. and finally, danny wrote "lawrence, you are the steve austin of malawi with a $6 billion bionic heart. buying a desk has become my favorite holiday tradition. danny is celebrating the fact that we recently crossed the $6 million mark and now is my four year of campaign standing at $6,209,745. your kindness is providing desks for hundreds and thousands of malawi students and allowing thousands of malawi girls to continue their education.
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in the rewrite tonight, james madison versus the nsa. yesterday, federal court judge richard leon wrote a decision finding that the massive collection of security phone records is an unconstitutional privacy which held that it was not an invasion of privacy for the government to examine phone records maintained without a warrant. we had a reasonable expectation of privacy for the content of our telephone calls but that we had no reasonable expectation of privacy when it came to the records of our phone calls that are maintained by telephone companies for billing purposes.
other federal judges have relied on that 1979 case, smith versus maryland, in finding the independent sa data collection programs are, indeed, constitutional, overruling the smith case is the necessary linchpin of judge leon's decision and he does it by asking and answering this question. when do present day circumstances, the evolutions in the government's surveillance capabilities, citizens' phone habits and the relationship between the nsa and telecom become so thoroughly unhike those considered by the supreme court 34 years ago that a precedent like smith simply does not apply? the answer unfortunately for the government is now. so there is judge leon saying, 34-year-old constitutional thinking is now outdated but then judge leon relies on
226-year-old constitutional thinking for the most dramatic flourish in his opinion. "indeed i have little doubt that the author of our constitution, james madison who cautioned us to beware the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power would be aghast." that line is there as nothing more than a rhetorical flourish, an attention getter for the media. that line has no legal meaning or import. it's something judges do all the time to try to align their decision with the great minds of the founding fathers. there is no more abused judicial advice to invoke one of the founding fathers and assign a judicial opinion to him. and politicians do it all the time, too, telling you that the founding fathers would be aghast at this or that. let's just get something
straight about the founding fathers. we have no idea how they would react to the modern world. judge leon's opinion is a well-written, well-reasoned opinion that might prevail on appeal and it might not. but we can only hope that the appeals court judges considering this case will stick with the facts of the case and the applicable law and the constitution and spare us the mind reading of men who have been dead for a couple of hundred years. judge leon would have us believe that james madison would be aghast at nsa data collection. he would be aghast at the existence of air travel and the internal combustion and birth control pills. we can only wish that james madison had been more aghast at
the outrages against the principles of the constitution that he did nothing to correct, things far more insidious and evil than anything the nsa could dream up. james madison was president of the first country in the world to hold this truth to be self-evidence that all men are created equal but james madison was not aghast at slavery. james madison was not aghast at denying women the right to vote but that same james madison would be aghast at nsa data collection. when james madison wrote the constitution, he was a 36-year-old virginia slave owner. he seemed to be, at times, somewhat troubled by slavery but that didn't prevent him from profiting from it and making sure that slaves would be counted in the census so that
the southern slave owners like him would be overrepresented in the house of representatives because they were allowed to count their slaves in the census even though the slaves had no rights of citizenship. it was madison himself who made sure that slaves were counted in the constitution as 3/5 of a human being. in his eight years as president, james madison didn't lift a finger to stop slavery. after his presidency, madison wrote a letter to the marquise de lafayette in 1826 saying the two races cannot co-exist both being free and equal. james madison became a supporter of a group whose goal was to free slaves and transport them to africa or to the american west.
in another letter, madison wrote that, quote, the physical peculiarities of those held in bondage would always promote we do know that james madison would be aghast at an integrated cabinet room in the white house, first with african-american members of the cabinet and now with an african-american president presiding over that cabinet, a president elected by a national coalition of voters that included african-americans and women, people who james madison could never imagine even having the right to vote. but we have absolutely no way of knowing if james madison would be aghast at the tools that that president authorizes the nsa to use to, among other things,
protect the court from terrorist attack by haters of america who believe they have a religious imperative to kill as many noncombatant american citizens as possible, people who have committed no greater crime against those terrorists than going to work in the world trade center on september 11th. we have no idea whether james madison would be more aghast at al qaeda than he would at the nsa. and judge leon doesn't know that either. what we do know is that james madison would be aghast at the final judgment on judge leon's opinion being rendered by a united states supreme court that includes three women and a black man. ♪
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just in time for 77th birthday today, pope francis has been named person of the year for a second team in less than a week. last week, of course, it was "time" magazine who bestowed the honor and today "the advocate" named the person of the year. while 2013 will be remembered for the work of hundreds in advancing marriage equality, it will also be remembered for the example of one man in the same way that president obama transformed politics with his evolution of lgbt civil rights. the online magazine points to this statement as a sign of shifting thought in the catholic church which has 1.2 billion members worldwide.
>> the pope tweeted today "the love of god is not generic. god looks with love upon every man and woman calling them by name." pope francis has critics such as rush limbaugh. he celebrated his birthday with a group of homeless men who joined him for mass and breakfast. joining me is father james martin. and you have a new book out here, "a big heart open to god." it's on the teleprompter. i should read it there instead of on the book. "a big heart open to god." just in time for christmas. let's see. how much? $17.99. >> it's a steal. >> yeah, you can get it at amazon, it would be cheaper. so the really interesting development with this cardinal
raymond burke on the congregation of bishops, the pope has removed him and we have something about what cardinal burke said about the pope wanting to re-empathize and take it away from the things that the church has been talking about. >> i'm not exactly sure why he mentioned it. one gets the impression or it's interpreted in the media this way that we're talking too much about abortion, too much about the integrity of marriage as between one man and one woman but we can never talk enough about that. >> i don't know, i think we can talk enough about that. >> well, and that's about as strong as you're going to get from a cardinal disagreeing with a pope. >> yes. >> it's a very gentle disagreement but in our interview in this "big heart open to god," it's that we have been focused on too many issues and not that it's not important but there are others to come to fore.
he's very clear about that. >> how much more of this kind of bump are we going to see in the road for the pope where there are these public disagreements with more conservative cardinals? >> well, that's a very good question. i wonder if more cardinals will be -- if they do disagree with him will be emboldened to make their disagreement known. i think it's healthy for the church. i don't think there's anything wrong with it. but the pope is also very strong on what he wants to do with the church. >> is this being taken in the church as, hey, that's a firing, this is just somebody who the pope moved out of that position because he disagreed with him and didn't want to hear more from him? >> he appointed archbishop of washington into the position. he definitely wants someone who thinks differently than the cardinal. >> are you hearing back here any of the pope's personal reaction to what he's getting from the reaction in the world?
>> yeah. he said in this interview, i'm getting criticized. >> he's getting a huge -- the advocate picks the pope as the person of the year and that's inconceivable. i mean, there's an amazing kind of positive reaction to him from people who have never had a positive reaction to a pope. >> which is fantastic. i mean, he's drawing people to the church. more importantly, he's drawing people to god. if the advocate puts him on the cover and "time" magazine, if that draws more people to god, great. >> can we get a shot of father martin and me? i know eleanor is watching. father martin's mother, who i just learned, a big fan of the show, reviews all of your performances, eleanor, i think he did great tonight. i really do. you tell him the truth. you've seen more of his work than i have. another book promo "a big heart open to god."
road block. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. getting to know chris christie who had been until now best hope of a non-tea party republican running in 2016. has become a troubling matter. once the great moderate, questions now abound. did he shut down traffic leading to the george washington bridge? did he tell them to exact punishment to a mayor on the new jersey side to let him know the governor's feelings were hurt when he didn't pony up for the re-election? did he?